What changed?

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by menageriekeeper, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    Reading over the board the last few days I've come to realize that many of us came from a background that many would call "independent" and "fundamental". This quote from one of John of Japan's posts in another thread sums up the starting postion of this group quite well:

    And if the answer to that question was yes, you were in! You were accepted as part of the group and considered to have your theological hat on correctly.

    But now, those things don't seem to be enough. "Independent" seems to mean one can't cooperate with another denom (was it always this way?) and "fundamental" seems to mean the men better wear a suit on Sunday and and the women a dress (standards replacing theology?).

    Being as old as I am, I can actually remember days when folks didn't argue over stuff like that. When Curtis Hutson (then editor of the Sword of the Lord) came and preached at the Free Will Baptist Church my family attended and was accepted and accepted us in return despite the distinct leaning of the church away from "once saved always saved".

    It wasn't that standards weren't discussed, just they weren't put ahead of the fellowship and cooperation between different churches. (FreeWill churches are technically independent or were at that time though there is a national organization)

    But somewhere between Curtis Hutson visit to that church and the present something changed greatly, from the pages of the Sword of the Lord to the thread of the BB. There is great animosity on all sides toward those who have different views, whether it be over standards or doctrine. What has caused this? Or am I just not old enough to have recognized it happening in my youth?

    What has caused so many here who still hold to the precept's in the above quote to leave the IFB flavor of Baptist for say the SBC flavor?
     
  2. abcgrad94

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    Hmm. I've never known it NOT to be that way, MK. But then, I was born in the early 70's.
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    Due to the hateful disposition of MANY IFB churches?

    Going from IFB to SBC doesn't mean one has left off the tenets of the faith.
     
  4. revmwc

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    We left SBC when I was about 10 or 11 Dad couldn't take the 2 points and poem he said we were getting from the preacher. But we went to a totally independent Baptist church, not affiliated to any type of Baptist. Totally autonomous and totally bible teaching. Verse by Verse book by book but the Pastor having been saved in an SBC church kept the name Baptist on the church. He said we could put any name including Bible church but he still wanted the Baptist on it.

    So I can't say how the IFB, BBFI and other Independents believed just us. I know the first association with BBFI pastor was an experience in the way they did things.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    From how this is already going, I suspect it will degenerate into another IFB bashing thread, though I'm sure menageriekeeper doesn't mean it that way. If if does turn out that way, I'm out of here. If it's going to be a reasonable discussion I'll participate.

    Two things have changed in regards to the OP. (1) The rise of the KJVO movement, and (2) the conservative resurgence in the SBC.

    In regards to IFB attitudes, we fundamentalists have always been the ugly stepchild of evangelism, with evangelical leaders highly critical of us. Some were forced later to admit we were right on some things. (See The Great Evangelical Disaster, by Francis Schaeffer, for one example.) But the damage had been done. The slurs stuck. Then are we blamed for our defensive attitude. If you kick a mutt enough times eventually he'll bite you.

    When the IFB movement started in the 1930's, it was a reaction to liberalism in the SBC. And the southern IFB leaders of the area did not usually quit the SBC, they were blackballed or forced out in some other way. When my granddad criticized his alma mater, Baylor U., for teaching evolution in the classrooms, he was blackballed by the Texas Baptist Convention, told he'd never preach in their churches again. So he went out and started 13 IFB churches in Texas the 1930's. With this kind of beginning, it's hard to change the direction of the IFB movement to be all gooey over the SBC conservative resurgence.
     
  6. menageriekeeper

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    John, I figured you'd understand what I was saying and would have some good info. Thanks.

    So:

    Starting in the '30's, what sorts of "liberalism" do you mean?

    I didn't know the stuff about evolution and your grandfather. Not that I'm surprised, my dad moved us south because he thought we'd escape being taught evolution in the public schools. (didn't quite work out that way)

    "Evolution" is a big term. If you know, what exactly was being taught at Baylor? The concept? (something I'd think folks who want to oppose it would need to understand) The concept as fact? (I'd have to disagree with as well) By the way, this is mere curiosity so if you don't know off the top of your head feel free to ignore these questions.

    How, maybe why, did the KJVO thing become so important in the IFB movement?

    Why would the SBC becoming more conservative lead to a worsening of animosity between the two groups? Wouldn't this be seen as a good thing to IFBs?

    I'm going to look up the Schaffer book. I think I might have it somewhere around though I don't believe I read it. The title is very familiar.
     
  7. John of Japan

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    I'll answer your questions as I can. I translate all day today, and tomorrow morning I leave for Sapporo, where I will preach 5 times over the weekend.
    I mean classical theological liberalism, which is the only kind that existed in the 1930's. That is liberalism that denies one or more of the fundamentals of the faith: the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, the deity of Christ and so on.

    Many Southern Baptists were very soft on liberalism up until the conservative resurgence. Most did not bellieve in separation from liberalism, but practiced the New Evangelical strategy of infiltration. In fact, in 1993 or thereabouts, I had lunch with an SBC pastor--a good man--in the States who talked about how he had lunch every week with the liberal (his word) SBC pastor across town.

    Because of this, it is hard for many IFBs to believe the SBC has changed. Hence, conflict, as SBCers say "We've changed" and IFBers say, "Riiiiight." I didn't believe it myself until I had an email exchange with a prof at an SBC seminary who told me how hard it was to be a fundamentalist there in the '80's (Bible believers being mocked in chapel by the liberals, etc.), and how things have changed.
    It was Darwinian evolution being taught as part of the curriculum by at least one prof, Samuel Dow, the sociology prof. In the Rice bio by Bob Sumner (Man Sent From God, p. 99) it says, "When his book, Introduction to Sociology, was examined, it was very evident the charges some of the ministerial students had been making were true and that Dr. Dow did teach the ascent of man through evolution."

    John R. Rice was then visited by a committee of three leaders in the Texas Convention who threatened blackballing him: E. L. Carnett and T. B. Masten of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Pastor Williams of Seminary Hill Baptist Church (now Gambrell St. Baptist). That threat was carried out when he refused to stop the expose on his radio show.

    From then on, especially after he started the Sword of the Lord, he opposed liberalism and tolerance for it in the SBC. This gained him both friends and enemies in the SBC, and some of those friends led the conservative resurgence. Much of the SBC liberalism Rice exposed is documented in Southern Baptists and Wolves in Sheep's Clothing (1972).
    It began in the 1970's. As fundamentalists we value the verbal inspiration of Scripture very highly. Therefore the aberrant views of men like Peter Ruckman were, at first glance, attractive. Some fundamentalists only took that first glance. Others such as John R. Rice opposed it. I remember Lee Roberson saying in chapel in the early '70's that discussion on Bible versions would be no longer be allowed on campus. (Don't have time to discuss this more now; it's very complicated.)

    Currently there is a swing away from radical views on the KJV in the IFB movement, as seen by the rejection of Riplinger by such people as the Dean Burgon Society and Jack Schaap.
    As I said above, it's very hard for IFBers to believe that the leopard has changed his spots. Hence, conflict as IFBers express doubt and SBCers wonder why.

    What always gets fundamentalists in trouble with the rest of evangelicalism is our insistence that ecclesiastical separation is a Biblical standard. We are then called haters, as witness the thread started on separation by Van recently on this very forum.
    It's a very interesting read.
     
  8. menageriekeeper

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    You've given me a good bit of info already John. I'm going to absorb for a while and find out the Shaffer book so by the time I have more questions maybe your schedule will have slowed some.

    One more quick question: were there IFBs before the 30's or did your grandfather start a new trend?

    In the meantime I'd love to hear the opinions/experiences of others on this board, both SBC and IFB as well as any who were on the outside looking in.
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Quick answer: there were independent Baptists before the 1930's, but they were few and far between. Interestingly enough, the very first Baptist missionary to Japan, Jonathan Goble, was an independent Baptist. He was probably also the first ex-Marine missionary. :thumbsup: Spurgeon also became an independent Baptist after withdrawing from the Baptist Union due to the "downgrade movement." But there was no movement per se.

    I consider John R. Rice to be the founder of the Southern independent Baptist movement due to his founding those 13 churches. Others would object that it had to be J. Frank Norris, but Norris' leadership was largely rejected by fundamentalists, as can be seen by the history of the BBFI and WBF.
     
  10. BobinKy

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    This is a very interesting thread. I hope it continues.

    ...Bob
     
  11. revmwc

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  12. menageriekeeper

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    I'm not certain I understand your point, though I've read your thread and will comment on it there.

    Why would the service in which one holds communion matter? Would a decision of that sort on either side (IFB or SBC) really cause contention? Isn't this the sort of thing we'd expect each church to decide as suits the individual congregation (whether IFB or SBC)?

    OR are you saying that one side has, for lack of a better expression, a better standard for the service of the Lord's table and the other side believes "anything goes"? And that in turn has led to the animosity between IFB churches and SBC?
     
  13. abcgrad94

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    MK, one thing I've noticed is that Baptists tend to put people in categories and label them. I don't know if other denominations do this so much. For example, I've heard many folks get labeled as "Calvinist, Armenian, liberal, contemporary, hyper-Calvinist," etc. If you're emotional or noisy, you're "going Charismatic" or if you celebrate Lent, you're "going Catholic." Why do we have to put people (especially other Baptists) in neat little boxes with well-defined labels? Why can't we all just be "Christians" or "Baptists" without concentrating on all the little tiny different details? Perhaps this is part of what you're seeing?

    My Catholic relatives do not categorize people so much based on minor issues. Some of the Pentecostals I know do, and perhaps some Presbyterians, but I've seen it most in Baptist circles.
     
  14. revmwc

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    My point is many have for the sake of not offending people lost sight of Honoring the Lord. Not with legalistic things those needed to be cone away but where it really counts, like the Lord's Table, it should be a Memorial service to honor Him or am I mistaken in His menaning of do this in remembrance of me. Many churches now seem to have the Lord's Table as an after thought, we are going to have our normal service and cut it short in order to serve the Lord's table. Does that really Honor Him is it done in Remembrance of Him or just well we need to serve it. Again many things that were done in the time I was raised were done to Honor our Saviour yes some were traditions but others seem to be a deeply solemn time of getting right with God and Honor Christ. WE need to get to thsoe types of worship and that is what has changed.
     
  15. BobinKy

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    Good post. Labels are definitely something we should avoid.

    "Dad, have you seen my Tommy Hilfiger shirt?" -- folks, I gotta go.

    ...Bob
     
    #15 BobinKy, Jun 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2011
  16. Squire Robertsson

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    And then there's us Northerners

    John has eloquently stated the goings on in the South. However, he did not cover Fundamental Baptists in the North.

    1. Mainline Baptists in America split North and South in the 1830s. The spilt was due to matters of polity not doctrine.
    2. Baptists in the South soon formed the Southern Baptist Convention to handle inter-church affairs.
    3. Northerners rejected the idea of sending messengers from the various local churches to a central organization. They organized along functional lines. Like minded individuals formed the Northern Baptist Home Missionary Society, the NB Foreign Miss. Soc., The NB Publication Society, etc. Each organization was independent of the other. This lasted until 1901 when the Northern Baptist Convention was formed.
    4. However, by the time the NBC was formed the Northern Baptist movement and its seminaries had been infiltrated by theological liberalism (please see Beal's "In Pursuit of Purity" for a blow by blow description of the conflict).
    5. In the 20's, Fundamentalists\Conservatives in the NBC formed the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (FBF) as a pre-meeting before the annual meeting of the Convention. The FBF sought a "Conservative Resurgence" for over 20 years. It failed.
    6. The Fundamentalist founders of The General Association of Regular Baptists Churches withdrew form the NBC in the mid-30s.
    7. In 1947, Conservatives. seeing the battle for the NBC was lost, withdrew and formed the Conservative Baptist Association. The FBF continued as a side meeting of the CBA.
    8. In the mid 60s, the FBF withdrew from the CBA over various issues of separation and denominational politics.

    Conclusions:
    To those of us with roots in the Northern Baptist movement, the SBC is not the mother ship. That was decided in th 1830s.
    Many of the criticisms leveled at IFBs grow out of the actions and policies of the southern branch of IFBdom not the northern.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Good mini history, Squire. Thanks.
     
  18. menageriekeeper

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    Thanks Squire!

    Can you explain what the difference, if any, there was between the "Conservatives" and the "Fundamentalists" in #s 6 and 7 above? Why didn't the two groups later join one another instead of forming two different factions?

    What does the term "Regular" mean or refer too? Why add that to their name?

    Besides firsthand experience, ;) , where did you learn all this? My education seems to be sorely lacking in Baptist church history, especially that of the last 2 centuries. (pre civil war to the present) This is a serious question now that I'm trying to decide just what I'm going to be/do when my children grow up. (they are almost there!) My college education has been on a 20 year hiatus and it is just about time I picked it back up.
     
  19. Jim1999

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    As a point of interest, the baptist divide happened in Canada in 1925, when the major baptist university became liberal vocally. Dr. TT Shields of Jarvis Street Baptist Church was ejected from the Baptist Convention. The Toronto Baptist Seminary was formed and Shields became the spokesman for the fundamentalist separists, and formed the Regular Baptist Churches of Ontario and Quebec.

    Part of this battle had to do with the biblical verse, "And a virgin shall conceive...)KJV) and the RSV which read "and a maiden shall conveive...". This might also explain why the KJV became a vital copy of scripture back in those days. Whilst "maiden" is true to Hebrew, the application of maiden fit well into liberal theology.

    On associations: Many of the baptists who split from the Convention remained independent until the formation of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists in the 50's.

    We maintained fellowship with American fundamentalists of all stripes, and had many Americans preach in our churches. We were seldom invited back, however, because the majority of us were amillennial, not premill-dispensational.

    To show how we functioned, the majority of foreign missionary societies we non-denominational, and our Baptist churches fully supported these missions. We did not allow the minor differences to divide us.

    There is far more divisiveness to-day than back then, sad to say.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. Crabtownboy

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    I grew up in an SBC church and we were taught tolerance of others. We might not agree with others, but we were to be tolerant and polite. Indeed that seems to have changed greatly.

    With the conservative takeover of the SBC that certainly changed. If you did not believe hook, line and sinker with the 'powers that be' you were not tolerated. This is seen in a number of ways, but I will mention one, the Baptist Faith and Message Statement. This has become, IMHO, scripture to many SBCers. If you do not totally agree and support all the words, dots and commas in the statement you are not suspect, but not a Christian. The Baptist Faith and Message has become a litmus test on a person being a Christian.

    Currently I know of two countries, there are probably more, were this is causing big problems for indigenous Baptists, Slovakia and Zimbabwe. The SBC has returned, the reduced their presence greatly a few years back, but have returned with promises of lots of money and have, indeed, spent lots of money, wooed pastors with money and then insisted that all pastors and all seminary workers sign a statement accepting the Baptist Faith and Message. Many have refused to do so on the well founded old-time Baptist principle of not signing creeds. This has pitted Christian againse Christian in countries were people were getting along "just fine, thank you" and are now being split into squabbling groups. This, in turn, is diminishing and greatly harming the work of missionaries, indigenous pastors and Christians, and semiinary officials. Indeed, just as in the States the SBC is attempting to have any professor or seminary official fired who will not sign the Baptist Faith and Message. It is really sad. Remember that almost all pastors in Central and Eastern Europe are what we call bi-vocational. They receive no salary from the church. This makes them very susceptible to going with the money from the SBC whether they really agree with the SBC or not. It is a sad state of affairs that has been created by narrow-minded SBC individuals.
     

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